Sustainable packaging material

Reducing Your Environmental Footprint with Sustainable Packaging Materials

Flexible food packaging is no mere trend, and it is more than just convenient for you and the end users you serve. It is an ecologically sound choice that helps you meet environmental initiatives for a lower carbon footprint. What’s more, companies that monitor their carbon footprint and implement improvements tend to make money, not lose it, on the switch, according to Scientific American.

If you are committed to a greener environment, flexible food packaging is a leap in the right direction. Here is why flexible packaging is such an important part of an eco-friendly policy for the food processing industry.

Reduce Raw Packaging Materials

Flexible packaging requires fewer materials to contain, protect, and transport food than its rigid counterparts. According to the Flexible Packaging Association (FPA), it takes about three pounds of aluminum or six pounds of rigid PET plastic to contain 60 pounds of beverage. If you opt for glass, expect to use 50 pounds to contain the same amount of liquids. On the opposite end of the scale, 1.5 pounds of flexible packaging does the same job.

Consume Less Energy 

Choose flexible packaging and use less energy along the whole lifecycle, from manufacture to disposal. A recent FPA publication,  “Flexible Packaging: Less Resources; Less Footprint; More Value”, states that flexible materials consume half the energy as their nearest competitor.

Flexible materials use less energy to manufacture. Because they are small and collapsible, they require less energy to transport when empty. When filled, their comparably small size and lightweight nature require less energy to transport, whether the vehicle is a delivery truck or a warehouse forklift. At the end of the lifecycle, fewer fossil fuels are needed to transport the empty containers. Check out our full product line of flexible materials and see the wide range of choices available.

Sustainable packaging material

Shrink your reliance on fossil fuels for manufacture as well as transportation.

Generate Fewer Carbon Emissions

Less energy translates to fewer carbon emissions. In the same FPA publication, the Association says flexible materials produce 75 percent fewer carbon emissions than the next closest packaging option.

Choose glass, and get in return about a 1:1 product to packaging ratio and .29 in carbon emissions (Kg CO2 e / 8 ounces). Aluminum is better, but it offers a 21:1 product to packaging ratio and .08 in carbon emissions for the same volume. Flexible packaging provides the highest product to packaging ratio—35:1—and only .02 in carbon emissions.

Send Less Packaging to Landfills

No one wants to layer more unnecessary waste onto already overburdened landfills. Most businesses and consumers want to reduce their impact, and flexible packaging helps you support that initiative.

Fewer materials and less packaging put you in a more advantageous position for waste reduction from the start. Flexible packaging can also help improve food product shelf life, says the FPA, so less packaging is thrown away unnecessarily. With ongoing research into recycling potential, flexible materials stand to produce even less waste in the future.

The benefits of flexible packaging for food products begin at the manufacturing level, span the food processing stage, extend to the end user, and continue through disposal or recycling. It uses fewer raw materials, produces fewer carbon emissions, and is effective for containing and protecting food as well.

At CDF Corporation, sustainability and environmental awareness have been part of our policy since 1971. If you are ready to move into the future and reduce your carbon footprint, contact us for a free sample and download our corporate brochure.

Food packaging

Sustainability Checklist Highlights Ways to Reduce Packaging Waste In Processing

The packaging industry, product processing companies, and retailers have a shared duty to protect goods, consumers, and the environment with safe, convenient, and affordable solutions. It is a balancing act because improvement in one aspect of packaging can reduce or improve the effectiveness of another.

Examining the whole life cycle of sustainable packaging materials gives a clearer picture of the choices made and how they interact with each other.

The 2017 Food and Drink Federation Packaging Checklist for Food and Drink Business addresses three high-level categories of packaging and sustainability: functionality, the Three Rs, and transportation. With flexible packaging, everyone in the chain—even the end user—has the opportunity to effect positive change.

Category 1: Packaging Functionality

Functionality applies across the lifecycle of product packaging. At its most basic level, it should be strong; protective against leaks and external contaminants; free from or protective against contaminants within the packaging material that could harm the product or the environment; and easy for every link of the chain to handle, use, and recycle or discard with minimal environmental impact.

Flexible packaging encompasses those fundamental requirements of proactive and ecologically sound packaging as well as broader ones, such as brand appeal and cost effectiveness.

Some of the many benefits include:

  • Testing for ongoing lower materials waste and performance improvement
  • Reduced product waste from breakage and filling errors
  • Scalability
  • Ease of package filling and dispensing
  • Fewer materials
  • Packaging design flexibility
  • Lower transportation costs
  • Lower carbon emissions
Sustainable packaging materials

Every link in the chain can be a sustainability hero.

Category 2: Reuse, Recovery, and Recycling

Reduce, reuse, recycle: those are the basic tenets or Three Rs of waste reduction. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, food waste and food packaging account for nearly half of materials that end in American landfills.

The FDF checklist addresses the Three Rs in two main points:

  1. If the packaging is intended for reuse, is it strong enough and is there a system in place to facilitate it?
  2. After use, can the package be recycled, recovered, or composted?

Not all flexible packaging is recyclable. In some cases, the product it contains prohibits recycling. With multi-layered flexible packaging, recycling may not be possible. However, Packaging Digest says there are several ways to improve.

  • Innovative design
  • Ongoing technology improvements
  • Improved recyclables collection
  • Better materials sorting
  • Expanding the use of flexible packaging to improve recycling value
  • Flexible food packaging might not contain food again, due to FDA purity requirements. But it may be recycled into packaging for another product.

Category 3: Transportation

Transportation by freight truck adds between 60 and 150g of CO2 for every metric ton of goods shipped. That’s according to Time for a Change. Air freight accounts for 500g and trains produce 30 to 100g per metric ton. Smaller, lighter packaging materials reduce transportation needs and costs, which benefits both the environment and the manufacturer.

The FDF checklist asks three important questions:

  1. Does current transportation use efficient routes?
  2. Can vehicles be loaded more efficiently?
  3. Is there a load-share opportunity to make the most use of cargo space?

Flexible packaging cannot improve on routes, but it has the potential to improve load maximization as well as load sharing to reduce waste emissions when incorporated into an overall sustainability plan. With markedly smaller materials that are strong enough to withstand stacking and transport hazards, such as load shifting and bumpy roads, flexible packaging helps meet this part of the checklist. Because it is collapsible, it also reduces transport emissions and costs when it is collected after use.

Through continued innovation and a keen eye trained on the whole life cycle of packaging, sustainability can peacefully coexist with product safety, convenience, and affordability. The FDF says, “A whole chain effort is needed to truly succeed, and we must all make the best use of our resources.” Shared responsibility, from responsible packaging to improved recyclability and low-impact waste, help reduce environmental hazards without compromise.

To learn more about flexible packaging and how it serves as an important component of a total sustainability plan, contact us for a free sample and download our corporate brochure.

 

Food packaging

How Continuing FDA Scrutiny of Food Additives Affects Food Packaging Choices

Additives have always been a tricky part of commercial food formulating, processing, and packaging.

Additives preserve food, enhance its flavor, and improve its color. Without them, many processed foods would not exist in their current form, or at all. But many consumers are leery of artificial additives with hard-to-pronounce chemical names.

Consumer wariness about additives has extended to packaging.

Under U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations, material from packaging that finds its way into food, even in minute amounts, can be considered an “indirect food additive.” As with direct food additives, the packaging manufacturer must show the FDA that “there is a reasonable certainty of no harm” from all food-contact packaging materials.

Addictive Regs a Constantly Moving Target

Unfortunately, this has proven to be something of a moving target, for several reasons. New studies come along showing (or purporting to show) that a packaging component is more harmful, or that it migrates into food in greater amounts, than previously thought. Non-governmental organizations mount media campaigns and petition the FDA to ban packaging components, even in cases where its migration into food is minimal—or even nonexistent.

“The view that the mere presence of, or exposure to, a chemical substance is considered harmful [is] being applied to packaging,” George Misko, a partner with the law firm Keller and Heckman, wrote in Food Safety magazine.

Recent examples of this include:

Bisphenol A (BPA). This monomer is a component in polycarbonates used for beverage containers and in the epoxy resins often used to coat the insides of food cans. In the late 2000s, it was the target of a lot of negative media coverage, sparked by studies from the National Toxicology Program, the Endocrine Society, and others. These identified BPA as an endocrine disruptor that could interfere with the body’s hormones. Some local authorities banned packaging with BPA, and many plastic packaging end users began advertising that their packages were BPA-free.

Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs)These are used to make paper, paperboard, and corrugated resist grease and moisture. Fast-food boxes, trays, and beverage cups are among the most common end uses. Food packagingAfter studies found that the most commonly used PFC,  perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), was especially pervasive and toxic, the FDA banned its use from most food-contact packaging. A more recent study showed the widespread presence of fluorine, the base chemical of PFCs, in a sample of several hundred pieces of fast-food packaging. The study got major media exposure and led to pressure on major fast-food chains to phase out the use of all PFCs.

“We just don’t know enough about the safety of these new chemicals,” David Andrews of the Environmental Working Group, a co-author of the study, told the Chicago Tribune. “Since there are other options out there, this should be a wake-up call for these [fast-food] companies.”

Infant formula and breast milk packaging. Under a change made in 2013, packagers who want to use a new food contact substance in packaging for infant formula or containers for breast milk must prove its safety to the FDA—a standard stricter than the “reasonable certainty of no harm” for Food packagingcomponents of other packaging. The agency instituted the rule change on the theory that because formula or milk is an infant’s sole source of nutrition, and because of their low body weight, the risk of exposure is up to 70 times greater than for an adult.

Packaging suppliers and end users will have to pay careful attention to such issues. These concerns could constitute a significant advantage for single-use bulk packaging, especially for applications where polycarbonate containers have been the norm.

“As questions continue to arise about the safety of food packaging materials, the food packaging industry will need to have solid science to show that their products are safe, and they will need to effectively communicate this information with government regulators and consumers,” Misko wrote.

Safety in food manufacturing and processing is a priority for CDF. Download our Bag-In-Box brochure to learn more about our safe bag-in-box solutions for food and beverage manufacturers today!

Bag-in-box

Bag-in-Box Containers: 5 Things You Need to Know

Sustainability in packaging cuts across the entire supply and manufacturing chains. This means that every step in the process must contribute to the sustainability of the finished product, while providing the benefits brand owners want.

Why Flexible Packaging Matters

One of the primary goals of brand owners and food packaging suppliers is zero food waste. To attain that goal requires the use of advanced flexible packaging technology. Bag-in-Box technology is becoming increasingly popular  for liquids such as wine, juices, and other liquid consumer products, as well as for food products such as ice cream and other dairy items.

Flexible plastic packaging for Bag-in-Box applications comes in a variety of thicknesses depending on the requirements of the brand owner, the food producers’ fill lines, and polymer materials to meet specifications. To help food to be more shelf-stable and to last longer when refrigerated after opening, barrier packaging is one of the newest technologies used for flexible packaging applications for food.

Barrier film is a multi-layer film consisting of co-extruded polymer materials such as high-barrier Nylon (Nylon 6 or Nylon 66)/EVOH and PET (polyethylene)/oriented Nylon. Nylon offers excellent clarity and stiffness, and provides a good oxygen and aroma barrier.

Bag-in-Box Makes the Grade

CDF’s Bag-in-Box, a combination of a fiberboard box encasing a polymer inner bag, has proven to be an ideal solution for many food packaging applications. Here are five things you need to know about this packaging:

1. Protection and Lightweight Properties:  Bag-in-Box offers high levels of protection for the contents, both food and beverage, during transportation, while the lighter weight of the packaging combination reduces overall weight of the shipment, saving on fuel costs and lowering the carbon footprint.

2. Food Waste Reduction:  The multi-material barrier layers keep food fresher longer, thus helping to reduce food waste, and are FDA-approved for food contact.

3. Certified as Safe: Bag-in-box flexible packaging offers additional safety for food products. For instance, CDF recently passed the rigorous testing requirements for the design of its Bag-in-Box, receiving the UN Certification for its 20 Liter packaging.

4. Greater Sustainability:  The plastic bag in the Bag-in-Box packaging is sustainable in many other ways as well. Plastic file is energy-efficient to produce. At end-of-life, the Bag-in-Box can be completely recycled through both the fiberboard and the appropriate polymer recycling streams, including the injection molded dispensing nozzles found in liquid dispensing Bag-in-Box applications.

5. Security: Bag-in-box packaging can offer additional security for food contents. For example, with CDF’s Smart Seal Technology, the contents of the Bag-in-Box are secure whether a pillow or form-fit bag is used.

Bag-in-box

CDF’s Bag-in-box packaging makes the grade for sustainability.

Reaping the Rewards of Bag-in-Box Packaging

Flexible bags, which are easily accommodated by automated fill lines, help manufacturers reduce food waste while offering sustainability through end-of-life package recycling. This makes bag-in-box packaging an ideal choice for brand owners and food and beverage producers alike.

With more than 40 years of experience in packaging design and manufacturing, using the latest state-of-the-art polymer processing/extrusion machinery, CDF is a total solutions packaging provider with the know-how to give you the latest technology combined with CDF’s innovative approach to customer challenges. Download our Bag-In-Box brochure to learn more.

Flexible packaging

Exploring the Role of Flexible Packaging in a Circular Economy

What kind of spin can flexible packaging put on the “circular economy”?

For years, sustainability has become an increasingly important aspect of packaging. The latest significant development in sustainability has been the concept of the circular economy. As applied to packaging, simply put, this involves planning every aspect of packaging—materials, design, conversion techniques, distribution, use and recovery—with an eye toward minimizing consumption of materials and energy, and maximizing reuse. To be truly effective, a circular economy requires participation by everyone in the supply chain, including: packaging materials suppliers, converters, product manufacturers, retailers, consumers, and recyclers.

Challenges for Flexible Packaging

With flexible packaging, especially for food, users face a unique set of challenges in participating in the circular economy.

One of the biggest such challenges is that in most cases, truly closed-loop recycling—i.e., making food packaging into more food packaging—is not an option. With few exceptions, Food and Drug Administration regulations prohibit recycled material from being used in food-contact packaging.

Even if recycled material could be used for food, flexible packaging has some inherent disadvantages. Many flexible films used for food consist of multiple layers of different polymers, such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH). Recycling different polymers together is impossible when, as often happens, they have incompatible molecular structures. Also, most recycling centers are not set up to process flexible packaging; their machinery can only handle rigid plastics.

IBC and Bag-in-Box Contribute to Circular Economy

However, bulk flexible packaging, such as intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) and bag-in-box, has a big advantage when it comes to the circular economy—and its manufacturers and users are in a position to minimize or overcome its disadvantages.

A major aspect of the circular economy is energy consumption. A big part of that is minimizing fuel used for transportation, by cutting down on distances—and weight. The latter is an ongoing, inherent advantage of bulk flexible packaging. It is lighter and takes up less space than almost all rigid bulk packaging alternatives, meaning that more product can be delivered per tankload of fuel. And because it is almost always one-way packaging, there are no transportation return costs.

IBCs are used almost exclusively for industrial applications. In the food sector, this means delivering bulk loads of liquid, semi-viscous, or powdered ingredients to food processing plants. (Bag-in-box often is also used this way, to deliver smaller loads.) This means the supply and return chains can be more tightly controlled than with consumer products. It is therefore easier for suppliers and their industrial customers to make sure that used flexible packaging gets collected and delivered to a recycling facility that is equipped to handle it.

Environmentally friendly food packaging

When the flexible material is monolayer, or consists of multiple layers that are chemically compatible, recycling is relatively straightforward. Even some film structures that comprise incompatible materials can be processed with a “compatibilizer” chemical such as DuPont’s Fusabond.

Because of FDA regulations, most resin recycled from flexible material cannot be processed into material intended for food contact. However, it will be available for non-food end uses such as shipping bags, sacks of fertilizer and other farming/gardening materials, newspaper bags, etc. This does not quite close the circle perfectly, but it comes much closer to the “circular economy” model than simply landfilling the discarded material.

For more information about smart flexible packaging choices, download our Bag-In-Box brochure today.

Flexible packaging

Exploring the Role of Robust HACCP Plans in Flexible Packaging

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points or HACCP was born of the need to actively manage and control the risk factors that cause foodborne illnesses. According to the FDA, food safety is everyone’s responsibility, from food preparation and packaging to transportation and retail handling.

At its best, HACCP principles benefit every gear in the food processing, preparation, retail, and end-user machine. It does not just protect the consumer; it supports the well being of the businesses involved.

HACCP Consists of Seven Guiding Principles

The FDA explains that HACCP is made of seven primary principles. They include:

  1. Performing hazard analysis
  2. Deciding on Critical Control Points (CCPs)
  3. Determining critical limits
  4. Establishing CCP monitoring procedures
  5. Establishing Corrective Measures
  6. Establishing verification procedures
  7. Establishing a documentation and record keeping system

Because each food product and food-related industry is different, no single HACCP program can cover each hazard. Food safety hazard mitigation needs a custom approach which involves careful evaluation, development, implementation, training, and monitoring.

A Sound HACCP Plan Addresses Several Key Issues

The best HACCP plan fits the unique hazards and needs of the facility. According to Food Safety Magazine,   examining these multifaceted issues can help create the best program framework.

  • Industry- and process-specific training
  • Content register creation directed at the facility’s unique characteristics
  • Risk assessment of nontraditional operations under the “New HACCP Applications”
  • Assessment of food ingredients, pathogens, and pathogen introduction avenues unique to the ingredients
  • Service provider risks, including airflow during handling and transport, uniform laundry chemicals, cleaning water temperatures, and driver food safety training

Monitoring, Verification, and Validation Keep a Robust HACCP Program on Track

The development and implementation stage of an HACCP plan is only the beginning. As a customized program that addresses the specific needs of the facility, your HACCP plan should also be a dynamic one which includes continual monitoring with data collection, verification of practices, and growth as needed.

The FDA points out that monitoring and verification are two separate operations. In fact, monitoring should also be verified. To ensure accuracy, verification should be left in the hands of an unrelated HACCP team member or an unbiased outside source.

Validation helps the HACCP program stay relevant. New products, processes, and suppliers introduce new food safety issues. Periodic reevaluation helps prevent hazards from slipping through the cracks.

Flexible packaging

Partners with Active HACCP Plans Support Improved Food Safety

Your operation’s HACCP plan deals with known issues that affect the safety of food in your care. Unfortunately, each vendor, supplier, or handler has its own vast array of potential issues and hazards.

For example, you might know the temperature and airflow conditions inside a transport vehicle. But what happens if a driver wears the same gloves for refueling the vehicle and offloading food or packaging materials?

Every gear in the HACCP machine affects the other in direct and indirect ways, but you cannot control what you do not see. That is why a partner with a sound HACCP plan is the safest bet. If you know that your flexible packaging provider uses the same level of care with HACCP plan development, monitoring, verification, and validation as your organization does, you can focus on mitigating in-house hazards.

HACCP is not just one plan; it is almost limitless in scope. Further, your plan is always in a state of fine-tuning and evolution to maintain the highest standards possible. Mitigating food safety hazards takes a customized approach. With a conscientious flexible packaging partner that has an HACCP plan in place such as CDF Corporation, you can focus on your operations and skip unnecessary worry about introduced hazards.

Download our food packaging product and pricing brochure to learn more about our flexible packaging options and why CDF is a safe and healthy choice for your food packaging needs.

Food packaging

Reducing Risk through Proper Testing of Food Packaging Materials

From processing to retail to the consumer’s table, responsible food packaging supports food quality and safety. Regulatory compliance including scrupulous migration testing helps stop contamination in its tracks and keeps food safer throughout every stage of its intended life.

Flexible food packaging plays a growing, rapidly innovating role in the industry. According to Ashland Specialty Ingredients regulatory compliance manager, Joseph A. Spinnato III, at Food Manufacturing, the market share has expanded approximately 4 percent annually since 2010.

With the rush to embrace flexible films for foods and beverages, ongoing compliance and migration testing are vital.

No Flexible Packaging Film is a Universally Failsafe Migration Barrier

Each flexible packaging film in use today has unique characteristics. For example, linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) is a common barrier film, but Spinnato explains that it’s not appropriate for every food product under every environmental influence.

Even some of the common metallized films, he explains, can fail to perform as a functional barrier under the wrong circumstances. The only way to determine performance is through migration testing.

Food packaging

Testing is an ongoing process that evaluates every known migration influence.

Migration Testing Carries Numerous Variables 

Migration barrier efficacy is influenced by numerous factors, some of which are the chemical makeup of the barrier and the food product, the temperature at which the product is stored, and the reaction of the polymer to temperature changes such as heating or freezing. Because products and conditions vary, one test is not sufficient for determining film packaging fitness for use.

Time, temperature, and the type of food contained all influence packaging fitness, says Spinnato in another article on the subject. Each factor can increase migration on its own, in varying degrees under different conditions. Only through migration testing and consistent food packaging regulatory compliance can the manufacturer, retailer, and end user have a reasonable assurance of food safety.

Strict Record Keeping Ensures Consistently Improving Results

If the factors affecting migration are understood, appropriate intervention can prevent food contamination. Compliance and migration testing effectiveness depend on consistent record keeping. With a clear chain of recorded results, manufacturers can spot packaging film performance inconsistencies and trace them to one or more factors.

The SQF Code explains that food packaging materials should never contribute to a food safety risk, and that record keeping enables auditing. Manufacturers that adhere to SQF Certification regulations have a robust record keeping strategy in place.

Consumers are highly engaged with retailers as well as food manufacturers. They prefer flexible packaging and have an acute awareness of contamination issues that compromise food safety. However, well before a food product gets to a consumer, its ingredients and constituent parts are handled and stored in multiple containers, all of which must comply with food safety standards.

Migration can occur with any flexible packaging film under the right conditions, which makes regulatory compliance and migration testing central to food safety now and in the years to come.  Download our food packaging product and pricing brochure and learn how we help mitigate migration through a wide range of food-safe films.

Flexible packaging

The Significance of SQF Level 2 Certification in Flexible Packaging

Customer and client satisfaction don’t often happen by accident. More often, satisfaction is accomplished through research, training, implementation and ongoing improvement.  SQF Level 2 certification helps every step along the food chain achieve.

SQF Level 2 Food Safety Management System certification is quite a mouthful. But the bottom line is simple: food safety and reliability through voluntary adherence to industry-wide standards. In flexible packaging, it means integrity all the way.

SQF Level 2 Preps Businesses for FSMA Final Rule Compliance

SQF Level 2 certification is the gold standard for the Food Safety Modernization Act Final Rule and Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP) education and compliance. It prepares the industry for guidelines that are now in force and those on the horizon.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration  says this about the FSMA:

“The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act is the most sweeping reform of our food safety laws in more than 70 years. It was signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011.”

CGMPs regulate the design, monitoring, and control of manufacturing processes and facilities, says the FDA.

SQF Level 2 Certification supports uniformity in safe food processing, handling, packaging, and distribution guidelines. The program is recognized around the world, says SQF Institute, for “robust food safety control systems” and an ongoing monitoring process that ensures ethical standards dependable, high quality.

Certification Instills Food Safety Confidence

From market to table, people depend on grocery items to nourish, not endanger. The FSMA and CGMPs help protect consumers against inconsistent manufacturing processes and ultimately, unsafe food. SQF Level 2 certification pulls it all together for food processing and packaging industries in an approachable way.

Every link in the food supply chain affects the next, says SQF Institute. Consumers want verifiable evidence of food safety, and so do retailers because safety issues are often difficult to detect just by looking, smelling or even tasting.

Certification is proof that the food was handled with the best level of care that’s both known and available at the time. Retailers can stock safe foods, which lets moms and dads serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner with confidence.

Flexible packaging

Certification Supports a Great Reputation and Brand Integrity

Regulatory compliance and SQF Level 2 Food Safety Management System certification are brand integrity building blocks. High-quality food and food packaging make clients and customers happy. If it’s available every time, it’s not an accident; it’s the way the company does business.

Certification gives customers certain assurances.

  • Uniform food processing and packaging
  • Consistent record-keeping
  • Continual monitoring for compliance and improvement
  • Allergen management
  • Facility training
  • Process gap analysis

Assurances lead to goodwill, and that makes the company brand as strong as it can be.

Certification is a promise kept. At CDF Corporation, our flexible food packaging is reliable for you and everyone your brand touches. That’s why we recently earned our stripes with SQF Level 2 and what we aim for every day.

Download our food packaging product and pricing brochure to learn more about the flexible packaging options available to you and how our integrity helps support your good name.

Flexible packaging

The Art and Science Behind Industrial Packaging

What makes flexible packaging such a positive choice? Better performance and product innovation, of course. Industrial packaging has a longstanding relationship with bulky, heavy containers. Perhaps it is difficult to imagine how thin materials can stack up against them. In many cases, the art and science behind lightweight films enables them to outperform their bulkier predecessors.

Flexible, industrial packaging provides workable, dependable solutions for longstanding problems in a cost effective way and with low environmental impact. They’re capturing more and more of the market share, and here’s why.

Forward-Thinking Product Design and Development

Innovation is at the heart of flexible packaging design and development. The goal isn’t just to offer a different packaging option but to create something that performs better on multiple fronts.

Packaging can be a key element in product safety and end-user convenience while fitting into your company’s environmentally-aware policies. How is that possible? The Flexible Packaging Association  (FPA) offers a few facts:

  • Flexible packaging isn’t one thing; it’s many things. Product shelf life is extended and waste is reduced by choosing a film with the correct attributes.
  • It contains more product using fewer resources, which reduces warehouse space and transportation costs.
  • A metal container of comparable size uses 75 percent more energy to manufacture and creates significantly more CO2 emissions.

It can guard against solvent breakdown or product spoilage in a durable material that allows for product agitation and dispensing, all in one environmentally-sound unit. That’s much more than just a container.

Liner Films Address Various Industry Issues

Advancements in film technology make flexible packaging a viable option for industries that might not have considered it before. For example, general-use, low-density polyethylene drum liners combine high tensile strength and elongation with tear and crack resistance. Ultrasonic and heat sealing seam technology supports the integrity and overall performance of the liner.

Anti-stat liners employ an internal anti-static agent to reduce static buildup and dry static cling, which protects flammable materials from accidental ignition. Where high oxygen and water vapor barrier concerns exist, round bottom foil liners provide a form fitting liner with a foil inner layer for high barrier protection and multiple options for product contact surfaces include low density polyethylene, polypropylene, or polyester.

These IBC liner options are FDA compliant:

  • Ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH): strong, flexible, transparent and widely-used in the food packaging industry.
  • Flexus™ and Flexus HF metallocene LLDPE: flexible, durable and crack-resistant for general use
  • Tenalon™: abrasion-resistant, strong, durable, co-extruded nylon

Flexible materials are unparalleled in their ability to achieve more with less. They’re overtaking traditional packaging materials on so many different levels that they’re steadily moving toward becoming standard. The FPA says flexible is the “second largest packaging segment in the U.S.”

Flexible packaging

Your positive experiences with flexible packaging help drive tomorrow’s advances.

End-User Factors Shape Today’s Performance and Tomorrow’s Innovation

When sourcing a new, flexible packaging option, the more the manufacturer knows about your needs, the better. Details about the product, in-house manufacturing, and handling processes, as well as site condition factors, help build a comprehensive profile.

This information helps pair you with the right product. If your needs vary, modification and customization, such as special venting or a different fitment location, is often an option. Looking ahead, your information does something more; it helps define the future of flexible packaging.

You might be asked about these and other specifics:

  • Product bulk
  • Whether the product is hazardous
  • Which market the product is designed for
  • Product particle size
  • Product special characteristics
  • Liner or bag type (drum liner, IBC liner, etc.)
  • Liner film, if known
  • Fill method
  • Characteristics of the work area
  • Discharge preference
  • Ideal discharge rate
  • Handling, racking, and transportation methods
  • Regulatory compliance concerns

With these and other details, the manufacturer can provide the best flexible packaging solution today and create a cycle of ever-improving design and technology in the future.

Flexible Packaging Supports Regulatory Compliance

Regulatory compliance issues can be a significant barrier between using familiar packaging materials and switching to an unknown material. However, flexible packaging has a strong reputation as a safe, protective, resilient packaging choice that supports compliance.

Depending on the end-use, flexible packaging in the U.S. must remain compliant with voluminous federal regulations, according to the FPA.

Some regulations include:

  • Food, Drug & Cosmetics Act (FD&C)
  • Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)
  • Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA)
  • Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA)
  • Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA)

If UN certification is an issue, certain flexible packaging meets UN requirements for containing and transporting hazardous materials that require Class II and III packaging. To qualify, packaging must pass rigorous third-party testing that reproduces the stress and strain of transportation.

Flexible materials also support Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) regulations, the standard for food and pharmaceuticals, and helps facilitate SQF certification.

Decades ago, who could have predicted that film liners and bag-in-box containers could not only compete with, but perform better than, old standards. Food, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, chemical, and many other industries have navigated toward a future with flexible packaging.

If you’re ready to learn more about how something new can yield high rewards, we’re here to help. Download our food packaging product and pricing brochure to get started.

Sustainability

The Case for Sustainability in Packaging

“Sustainability is the ability to achieve continuing economic prosperity while protecting the natural systems of the planet and providing a high quality of life for its people.” – Environmental Protection Agency

Sustainability has evolved far beyond its early status as a fringe idea. Now, it’s a central theme in the global trend toward efficiency, preservation of natural resources, and economic stability.

Contrary to what you might have heard, an environmentally-sound philosophy doesn’t have to involve uncomfortable trade-offs. Flexible packaging is sustainable packaging, and it can help you meet your goals for the environment, your customer base, and your financials.

Sustainability Supports a Convenient Lifestyle

Imagine a life where consumer packaging didn’t exist. Chances are, your life would take an abrupt turn. Sustainable packaging carries social benefits that support and enhance life in ways that many consumers might never have imagined.

Plastic Packaging Facts asserts that the social benefits are the “third leg of the sustainability stool,” complementing economic and environmental performance.

Sustainable materials, they explain, help keep food fresher longer. From the refrigerated section to produce to shelf-stable products, there’s less spoilage and less waste in the budget as well as the refrigerator.

Flexible packaging, renowned as an ecologically-sound choice, also helps transport more goods using less fuel and keeps products fresher. More people have access to better nutrition, even in remote areas.

Sustainability

Sustainability improves your marketing aim.

A Green Approach Offers a Valuable, Competitive Marketing Edge

In the marketplace, sustainability offers a clear competitive edge. Consumers gravitate toward companies that claim environmental friendliness and demonstrate it through good stewardship.

Sometimes, a company’s philosophy is as important as its products. BizCommunity makes several observations:

  • People buy from companies that make them “feel good.”
  • Consumers prefer companies that tackle societal issues.
  • The younger the customer base, the more a company’s large-scale societal benefits matter.
  • The majority of consumers expect company transparency. They want to see sustainable measures in action.

“The demand for sustainability has affected every aspect of packaging,” says Packaging World.  It influences preferences for smaller package size, lightweighting, resource conservation, and waste minimization.

A course correction toward low-environmental impact, flexible packaging matches global awareness and consumer demand. Sustainability resonates with consumers, which helps build a positive relationship based on a mutual philosophy between a brand and a consumer.

It’s Fiscally Responsible for the Corporate Economies

Sustainability makes sense from an economic standpoint, as well, but perhaps not exactly the way that you think. In a somewhat surprising twist, common knowledge on the subject could hurt, not help, your bottom line. A better path to green goals is developing.

Take recycling, for example. Common knowledge says plastic recycling trumps landfill waste. For that matter, plastics should be avoided, correct? Not so fast.

Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) looks at the whole lifecycle of a product. It begins with the most Earth-friendly source material, ends with as little waste as possible, and gathers as much use from the product as possible inside the life cycle.

Unfortunately, many businesses don’t yet appreciate the place where plastics fit into SMM. The natural capital cost of switching from plastics to alternative packaging materials could place a heavier burden on the planet, according to Packaging Digest.

Plastics are efficient, lightweight, small, and comparatively inexpensive. They often accomplish more than competing materials with a lower overall economic and environmental impact once the big picture comes into focus.

Packaging Digest says balancing SMM and the circular economy is a “journey, not a destination.”  There is no single perfect sustainable solution, as myriad factors affect short- and long-term economic outcomes.

The cost factor is only one of several cogs in the green initiative wheel. Pan out, and you’ll see that source material cost is sometimes minor when compared to other advantages of a low-environmental-impact strategy.

Improved marketability, better living with more conveniences, lower packaging and product transportation costs, longer life cycle and many other benefits create a better case for sustainability in packaging.

Flexible packaging enhances your sustainability goals. Download our food packaging product and pricing brochure and find out more.